Top 8 most congested UK cities

Published on 21 March 2016 by Tom Wadlow

UK drivers spend more time in traffic compared to drivers in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. London ranks second after Paris as the most traffic clogged city among the six countries analyzed.

The fallout from heavy traffic congestion hits the UK economy hard on several different levels. With roads clogged with traffic congestion on average 35 hours a week across the country’s 25 worst bottlenecks, traffic continues to have a major impact on consumers, the UK economy and the environment.

The scorecard found that the worst place and time to be on UK roads is in Manchester on Fridays from 17:00- 18:00 where it takes on average 56 percent longer than the same journey would take in uncongested conditions.

Overall, UK drivers incurred a Journey or Travel Time Tax1 (T3) of 22 percent meaning that a random journey along the UK’s major motorways during peak weekday driving hours takes an average 22 percent longer than the same journey in uncongested conditions.

By analyzing traffic on major motorways in the country’s 25 largest metropolitan areas, the INRIX Scorecard provides a comprehensive snapshot into the intractable issues of urban traffic congestion. According to the report, the Top 10 Most Congested Cities in the UK(1) span all regions:

  1. London: Drivers waste 54 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Friday from 17:00-18:00
  2. Manchester: Drivers waste 72 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Friday from 17:00-18:00
  3. Belfast: Drivers waste 62 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Monday from 8:00-9:00 AM
  4. Newcastle upon Tyne: Drivers waste 62 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Wednesday 8:00-9:00 AM
  5. Glasgow: Drivers waste 48 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Tuesday 8:00-9:00 AM
  6. Birmingham: Drivers waste 53 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Monday 8:00-9:00 AM
  7. Leeds-Bradford: Drivers waste 40 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Monday 8:00-9:00 AM
  8. Aberdeen: Drivers waste 56 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Tuesday 8:00-9:00 AM

“Our business is built on knowing what’s going on with traffic day in and day out in 20 countries,” said Hans Puvogel, GM of INRIX Europe. “The Scorecard, and the data powering the report, will contribute enormously to a better understanding of traffic congestion on UK roads helping governments and businesses free people and commerce from gridlock.”

UK Traffic Patterns

The INRIX UK Scorecard takes a micro look at traffic problems all across the country – zooming in on the total hours spent in traffic, worst day of the week for commuting and average speeds for the top 25 cities in the UK, along with hundreds of other details including the identification of the worst traffic bottlenecks the country’s drivers crawl through every day. Unique patterns evolving out of UK traffic congestion include:

• Worst Traffic Day: Wednesday

• Worst Week Day Morning: Monday

• Worst Commuting Hour: Monday 8-9 AM

• Worst Evening Commute: Friday afternoon

• Best Week Day for Traffic: Friday

• Best Week Day Morning: Friday morning

• Best Week Day Commuting Hour: Friday 6-7 AM

• Best Week Day Afternoon: Monday

(1) Overall Congestion vs. Travel Time Tax (T3): Overall congestion quantifies and ranks the total congestion in a region. Larger regions tend to have more roads and more locations where congestion occurs, hence more overall congestion. Travel Time Tax (T3) equalizes all regions by dividing out the difference in the size of each region’s road network – giving a more driver centric view of congestion. For example, London and Birmingham have comparable T3 (25.0% vs. 24.3%) – this implies that an average commuter in both cities faces similar delays. However, London has roughly 5 times more people and more than 3 times more road miles of major highways. So at a system level London has much more overall congestion while individuals in both regions each face similar congestion levels.